Combat laser systems for various purposes are increasingly used in the leading armies of the world. New design solutions and the emergence of powerful and compact batteries made it possible to create portable combat lasers used directly on the battlefield. Experts predict that in 2-3 years the number of wearable “laser carbines” capable of incapacitating the enemy’s manpower will significantly increase in the troops.
The effect of laser weapons on a person is described in an article published in the latest issue of the Russian Ministry of Defense “Army Collection”.
There are combat lasers in the armies of the USA, Germany, Great Britain, France, Israel, China, India, Japan, and Turkey. They are used against drones, high-precision missiles, as well as against observers and snipers. “Mobile laser systems are not yet mass-produced and not used, experts expect a powerful breakthrough in this direction in 2-5 years,” the article says.
The laser can illuminate optical reconnaissance equipment and sighting equipment, disrupt the operation of control and communication systems. Since an important element of victory over the enemy becomes not killing an enemy soldier, but putting him out of action, the task of creating a non-lethal laser weapon becomes urgent.
For example, a blinding non-lethal laser weapon has been created in the UK. It was originally created against Somali pirates. The SMU 100 wearable laser has the shape and size of a rifle. The laser emitter blinds and disorients a person for some time. The operating range is up to 500 meters. The diameter of the light spot is about three meters. The effect of the SMU 100 can be compared to the sensations experienced by a person who looks at the sun with his naked eye: unpleasant, but not dangerous, if you quickly look away.
In 2011, the British company BAE Systems developed another laser system that allows the crews of merchant ships to scare off pirates. A blinding effect is used: the installation emits a green beam with a radius of 50 centimeters. It is argued that the laser does not harm the retina of the eye, but only causes short-term blinding of the enemy. The ability to see clearly will return in a few days. Side effects include dizziness caused by disorientation in space. The beam is automatically directed to the pirate boats using radar signals.
The authors of the article do not exclude that such lasers are being developed for ground units already in the form of wearable weapons. Information about such developments is classified and is not published in the open media.
Russian warships also have similar light installations. For example, the “Owl” (“Rook”) station for creating visual-optical interference with vision.
In 2018, the Chinese Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (Xi’an) created the most “laser machine” ZKZM-500. The rifle weighs 3 kg with a battery (AK-47 weight) and can hit a target at a distance of up to 800 m. In half an hour, a laser assault rifle powered by lithium-ion batteries can fire several thousand shots. The beam is capable of passing through a glass barrier. The laser is designed for the police and military.
The radiation power of the ZKZM-500 allows you to burn through the clothes and skin of the enemy, who will experience unbearable pain. The weapon is considered non-lethal, since it does not inflict lethal damage. The sniper can fire 1000 shots within two seconds, after which the battery will be discharged.
A non-lethal semiconductor solid-state laser has also been created in the USA. It creates painful sensations by short-term exposure to human skin. Can be used to disperse demonstrators or to participate in hostilities. Installed on transport platforms.
Here is how the developer – an employee of the US Research Center (New Jersey) Ed Robinson, described the effect of this laser: “The beam is invisible and inaudible, penetrates glass, clothing and skin, heats up water molecules inside a person, affects nerve endings and causes severe pain.”
As the authors of the article in the publication of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation note, an increase in the radiation power can lead to severe burns of the skin and boiling of liquid inside a person and death. That is, with a “light turn” of the regulator, you get a powerful lethal weapon. The degree of laser action depends significantly on both the radiation power and its wavelength and frequency.
In the United States, there is a lot of similar development of laser “non-lethal weapons”. For example, the US Department of Justice Research Center created portable devices for the police that inflict pain at a distance using a laser beam or microwaves (microwave).
In our country, the first laser systems for ground forces appeared in Soviet times. They were called “Quarry”. Nowadays, on their basis for the Russian army, a portable laser device for optoelectronic anti-PAPW has been created. Designed to detect optical and optical-electronic means of reconnaissance of the enemy, setting them by laser radiation of pulsed light interference, and can even disable them.
PAPV is capable of detecting a sniper or an anti-tank guided missile operator and transmitting a command to turn on a power laser. Powerful laser radiation disables optical or optoelectronic devices through which counter observation and aiming are conducted. It is believed that the action of the PAPV is not lethal, but it can permanently incapacitate the enemy’s military personnel.
The weight of the device is 56 kg. It can be easily divided into two parts, which makes it easy to carry with a crew of two. The range is from 300 meters to 1.5 km.
A new Russian development is the SOSNA-N laser neutralizer for optical equipment. It detects sniper sights and optical devices at a distance of up to 2.5 kilometers and creates visual interference with snipers or spotters. The total weight of the device is about 6 kg.
According to the Ministry of Defense, Russian combat lasers were used during the Zapad-2021 military exercises to cover motorized rifle units, as well as the Uran and Nerekhta combat robots.
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